The sooner you realize the need to focus, the more likely you’ll be successful. DREAM BIG, focus small.”
As an entrepreneur, I’ve found one of the toughest things to do is focus. If you are anything like me, you constantly brainstorm new business ideas and get distracted by everyday occurrences.
To help increase my effectiveness each day, I’ve sought advice from others and am implementing the recommendations. Here are a few tips that I hope will help you become more focused as well.
1. Focus on one thing at a time
Instead of trying to work on everything at one time, choose one project to work on and dive into it 100%. Having too many projects going on at once will have you running in all directions and make it hard to finish anything.
Example: This is an example I saw just the other morning. My kitchen was a mess after cooking a big Sunday morning breakfast, so I decided to make cleaning it a project. Normally, I’d throw a dish or two in the sink, take the dish rag to the laundry room, then get distracted in the laundry room by taking in and out clothes, and most likely moving on to another project. All the while, the main project that needs to be completed is only partly done. This time, I only focused on cleaning the kitchen and made it a point not to get distracted. Within about 10 minutes I tackled the kitchen project. I gave myself a pat on the back and assigned myself another project for the day. This same idea can be applied to your everyday business tasks.
2. Plan your day
Before sitting down at the computer you should grab a piece of paper and plan your day. Create a list of everything you want to accomplish. Each item on the list is a project that should be completed. Once done, celebrate the accomplishment and move on to the next task. Instead of checking your emails right away, focus on accomplishing one of the harder tasks on your list. Your brain get’s tired as the day goes on and so it is important to use it to it’s fullest ability while you have all of the brainpower. Email and administrative tasks require less focus and can be done later in the day. Below is a photo of a mindmap I created to help plan the layout of this post. I’d highly recommend creating mindmaps to help plan your day and various projects. If you’d rather go digital there is a cool Mind Mapping company called Mindmeister which is free to use.
3. Set goals and remind yourself why you want to accomplish them
Goals are essential for motivating a person to become successful and focused. Write down your goals and why you want to accomplish them. Associate each goal with an image of why you want to accomplish it.
Example: Perhaps your goal of starting a business is to be able to spend more time with your family in the long run. Write this down, take a photo of your family, and put it where you will see it everyday. It will be a constant reminder of why you are working so hard to build a successful business.
4. Say NO and learn to quit
It may be hard to say no to your other business ideas, but it will allow you to get more done and be more efficient in the long run. You can’t be all things to all people. Many entrepreneurs tend to be a Jack of all trades and try to take on everything that comes at them. The problem is there is only so much time in a day. Instead of trying to run 10 businesses, try running 1 very successful business.
5. Eliminate Distractions
The advancement of technology is good and bad. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, cell phones, and email can make us less productive. Schedule a few minutes each day to manage your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Don’t check and respond to emails throughout the day. Batch all of them together and respond 2 or 3 times each day.
Example: I do have an iPhone but turned off all notifications (besides a phone call or text). I don’t find myself constantly checking the phone anymore which has made my day much more productive.
6. RGA VS MWA – Revenue Generating Activities vs Minimum Wage Activities
Focus on big picture ideas that will bring in sales. Sales and marketing tend to be some of the most productive projects to work on to bring in more money. If you can afford to hire out administrative tasks you should look into it. Hire a college intern or find a virtual assistant. Sitting in front of a computer responding to emails and filing or organizing your desk are not going to help build your business.
Repetitive tasks can usually be automated. Every month I get phone bills, utility bills, and invoices that need to be taken care of. Instead of manually sending a check to pay each one, I’ve set each account up with automated bill paying. It makes my life much easier. Apply automation to other routine tasks. Set up an auto responder for your newsletter list on Aweber. If you sell an ebook, use a company like Clickbank or Ejunkie to automatically send out the book when it is ordered.
8. Get Organized
Keeping things clean and organized can be tough, but it will help you become much more productive and focused. Know where all your tools and supplies are.
Example: When I’m not working I absolutely love to spend time out in the workshop. When the shop is messy my projects take three times as long to complete. I’m constantly searching to find the right tool and can’t remember where I left it. Build shelving and buy furniture that will help you stay more organized.
9. Study the Characteristics of Focused and Successful People
Characteristics to look for in focused business people:
- Willing to Bet on
- Makes Decisions Quickly
- Disciplined to stay the course
- Admits Faults
- Asks for Help
- Takes action and Takes Steps toward achieving Results
10. Take Action and Go for it!
The ability to take action and work towards your goals is part of getting focused. It’s great to read and always be learning, but make sure that you take action on what you’ve learned and go for it. Sometimes I think we have a little information overload from all the resources available and are focusing more time than necessary researching and talking about things. Instead of talking about your ideas forever, take one step forward and start “GETTING STUFF DONE.”
I hope these tips will help in making you more focused each and everyday. I know they’ve helped me and relieved me of some of my Entrepreneurial ADD. Please share your tips and what’s worked for you below. Cheers – Pete